“I don’t know what to write,” she told her cat. She scrubbed the makeup off her hands and sighed. The cat stared at her with unblinking yellow eyes. After a time he turned away and licked his paw. “Big help you are.”
She sat on the couch and pulled her Mac into her lap.
She opened a new document and stared at the screen.
The cursor mocked her.
The cat sighed and curled into a disinterested ball at her side.
She flexed her fingers and typed the word ‘the’. She deleted it. She retyped it capitalized. ‘The’. She deleted it. She leaned her head back into the couch and contemplated the ceiling. She typed ‘It’. She deleted it. She pursed her lips and stroked the cat absently.
The cursor taunted her.
The cat squirmed away from the finger she didn’t realize she’d been tapping on his head.
She turned on a CSI episode. As she admired Nick’s square jaw and Catherine’s endless sass, she felt the air contract. It felt burdened with electricity like the still before a storm. She shook it off. She blinked. When her eyes refocused she saw on the TV a reflection of the same episode she was watching. She glanced over her shoulder and saw her entertainment unit behind her. The whole set up in duplicate directly opposite the original unit.
“What?” She poked the cat into wakefulness. He blinked solemnly at the new entertainment unit in what used to be the south wall. She frowned and looked at the cat. He yawned. She turned back to the original and there were two. “WHAT?” Like an echo, her television had developed a replica of itself just a half-inch behind and to the left. Both were showing CSI in perfect unison. “Am I crazy?” She whipped her head back around to the missing south wall.
Another duplicate unit, just a half-inch behind and to the left of the first was also showing CSI.
She turned again.
Like a roll of fabric unfurling, a line of duplicates cascaded back through what once was the wall. She felt a rush behind her and knew without looking that the opposite wall was also expanding exponentially outwards. CSI blared in a uniform cacophony. A stadium of doppleganger Nicks examined the same piece of evidence in innumerable replication.
In the middle sat the laptop with it’s silently judgmental cursor.
Write what you know.
She sat down. Catherine was all around her tossing strawberry hair out of her eyes in a million-fold echos.
She started writing.
“I don’t know what to write,” she told her cat. And the TVs shattered outwards in a chaos of glass and CSI fragments.
- Corinne Simpson